SEO is crucial to digital marketing plan success. With all the buzz surrounding artificial intelligence, here’s how to leverage SEO AI responsibly.
Here, you’ll find:
- What search engine optimization (SEO) AI is
- Why SEO AI is a trending topic
- How AI impacts SEO
- Potential obstacles when using AI
There was a time when all an SEO pro had to do was stuff keywords into their content and watch their blog soar to page one. But gone are those days (thank goodness!).
But, just as search engine algorithms are always changing, so are technology advancements. Now, we’re in an age where artificial intelligence, or AI, is showing up more and more on search engine results pages (SERPs).
Google’s algorithm is getting smarter all the time — and so are consumers. This means crafting content that appeals to both is key. This requires deep topic and keyword research, sifting through audience data, and designing content that’s engaging and rank-worthy.
The good news: SEO work is becoming less tedious thanks to the dozens of AI tools. The field of SEO AI is fast-evolving, and odds are your competitors are leveraging — or at least trying out — these cutting-edge tools.
What is SEO AI?
SEO AI is the use of technologies powered by artificial intelligence to help improve SEO for websites.
It involves analyzing data and using machine learning (ML) algorithms to determine the best keywords, content structure, and other factors that help a website rank higher on the SERP.
Why is AI important for SEO?
Before SEOs were inundated with game-changing tools like Semrush and Ahrefs, they were plagued with tedious, manual tasks like:
- Analyzing competitor websites for gaps and opportunities for improvement one page at a time
- Monitoring web page rankings in search engines by manually visiting Google to see the results
- Submitting websites to be crawled
- Guesstimating who your audience was and how they found you
- Conducting traditional market research to find keyword opportunities via surveys and focus groups
You get the idea.
And now, we’re at yet another crossroads: going from what we now consider traditional SEO tools to AI-powered tools. Many of these tools already have artificial intelligence working under the curtain.
But what makes these unique is that they use natural language processing (NLP) and ML algorithms to make data-driven decisions for SEO. A lot like a member of your SEO team.
Sounds like an excellent companion. In fact, a HubSpot report shows 35% of marketers use AI in their role, and so do 54% of bloggers and SEO professionals.
And it’s also spreading across industries — roughly 62% of business leaders say their company has already invested in AI tools for employees. So far, it seems to be a good decision — 71% report positive ROI, and 72% say their employees are more productive.
So what does this say about SEO AI?
That your competitors are likely already using it or will soon. So if you don’t get with the program now, you could be left in the virtual dust.
“I believe Generative AI will positively impact multilingual, international SEO,” says Matt Smith, associate director of SEO at HawkSEM. “Its ability to translate through natural communication is much faster. It cannot translate large amounts of data yet, but it will get there.”
Benefits of using AI with SEO
Here are some ways AI is helping businesses scale their SEO campaigns:
- Improving and democratizing SEO by making it easier to analyze data and make sophisticated data analyses
- Scaling content creation by speeding up the research and writing processes
- Automating SEO tasks to reduce the need for repetitive manual work, such as content planning, editing, and optimizing
- Analyzing target markets, purchase patterns, and even future behaviors to guide SEO decisions
- Finding opportunities to improve website rankings at the click of a button, such as monitoring content performance for drops in rank and identifying areas to fix to boost ranking
This isn’t a complete list, but it should be enough to show how it can make your SEO efforts less tedious.
Pro tip: Search Engine Journal reports that recommendations for future-proofing your business don’t make sense without understanding the implications of search generative experience, or SGE.
How can businesses use AI in SEO today?
Hopefully, you’re psyched about the potential AI can bring to your SEO campaigns. If so, you can join the 37% of marketers in HubSpot’s report who already use AI to automate time-consuming SEO tasks (who doesn’t want that?).
But how exactly can you implement SEO AI in your business right now? Let’s explore the various scenarios and AI tools marketers use to hasten and simplify their SEO projects.
Building SEO content strategies that are data-driven
Pouring over thousands of keywords generated by an SEO tool and clustering them into topics and themes is no way to spend your workday. It wastes hours you can spend doing other important business duties.
With the right SEO AI tool, you can generate lists of keywords based on a SERP analysis and search volume, and then cluster them into topics, themes, and even hubs. Tools like SurferSEO and Writerzen offer these features to speed up your workflow.
It’s no wonder 77% of surveyed marketers said AI or ML software is overall very or somewhat effective when it comes to accomplishing marketing objectives. Just by adding a keyword research tool into the mix, you can cut days of analysis down to hours.
Some are even turning to ChatGPT to get advice for their content strategy.
Of course, we always suggest taking a robot’s words with a grain of salt. It’s important to keep in mind that these content creation tools are pulling from already-existing content, meaning the pieces aren’t fully unique. And they’re not perfect, meaning this content could potentially include factual inaccuracies or other errors.
However you choose to leverage AI tools, you always want to have a human read over, edit, fact check, and improve on any AI content you facilitate.
14 AI tools that can boost your SEO efforts
We know SEO works wonders for content marketing. But why continue tedious tasks when you don’t have to? Here are AI tools we recommend to speed up SEO workflows:
- Clearscope: Uses AI-powered content analysis to identify relevant keywords and then scores your content to ensure you have the best odds of ranking high
- Frase: Uses AI to generate content briefs, optimize SEO strategies, and provide a list of topics to cover so your content is in-depth
- Surfer SEO: Uses AI algorithms to analyze search engine rankings and provide data-driven recommendations for optimizing on-page SEO elements
- Ahrefs: Employs AI to analyze backlinks, track rankings, and perform competitor analyses, offering valuable insights for enhancing SEO campaigns
- Marketmuse: Leverages AI to generate content briefs, identify content gaps, and optimize SEO strategies for improved visibility
- Topic Mojo: Uses AI to identify trending topics and popular keywords to guide SEO content calendars that drive traffic and engagement
- Zutrix: Uses AI to act as a human searcher to get more accurate SERP data to inform your SEO strategy
- Screaming Frog: Uses its AI-powered crawler to analyze website structure, identify technical issues, and optimize site architecture for improved SEO
- RankMath: Provides AI-driven suggestions for optimizing on-page SEO, improving website indexing, and enhancing search engine visibility
- Sprig: A WordPress plugin that uses AI to find the best links for your internal linking strategy
- Narrato: Employs AI to generate SEO-friendly content briefs that include questions, keywords, and search intent
- Zenbrief: Uses AI to generate briefs and suggestions for content creation, helping to optimize SEO strategies and increase organic traffic
- Jasper: Leverages AI to create optimized product descriptions, landing pages, and even blog posts
- Hubspot: Hubspot’s AI blog writer uses AI to help create high quality blogs in a fraction of the time.
Auditing websites for SEO issues
Odds are, you already use some form of AI to audit your website. If not, now’s a great time to start.
Tools like Screaming Frog and Semrush will deep dive into all your web pages (root domain, subdomain, subfolders, and mobile version) to identify issues with technical SEO, on-page optimization, speed, and internal linking opportunities.
These AI-driven tools will build an audit report that identifies crawl errors, missing meta tags, broken links, thin content, duplicate content, and more.
You can also use AI to analyze the keyword density of each page and readability to ensure your content is optimized for search engines and humans. Then SEOs can analyze audit results and prioritize which errors to resolve.
Discovering ranking opportunities to maximize organic traffic
Talk to most marketers and they’ll tell you that repurposing content is just as important (if not more) than creating new content.
You’re leaving money on the table if you allow hundreds of pieces of content to sit on the umpteenth page and do nothing about it. You spent time and/or money creating content only to ignore it later.
Every post you develop has the potential to rank on the SERP. With the help of SEO AI tools, you can identify which pages need work and how to optimize them for visibility and clicks. To do this, it must analyze who’s searching for the keywords to ensure you’re targeting the right audience.
In fact, 84%of marketers in HubSpot’s survey say AI and automation help align web content with search intent.
For example, Surfer SEO scores all of your content and identifies quick wins (content on page two with the potential to reach page one with proper SEO optimization). It also finds missed opportunities to rank for keywords you overlooked.
With this data, you can refresh old content so it ranks higher in the SERPs for more search terms.
Surfer SEO directed one user to remove 22,000 words from a 26,000-word Semrush review and went from rank #7 to #1 the next day.
But it doesn’t stop there. It sends alerts to inform users of tasks to do each week, such as writing a new article (and even gives a topic idea), adding keywords (and which ones), inserting an internal link (and provides the URL), and watching a video to learn how to perform a new SEO skill (video link included).
It’s a personal SEO AI assistant for your site.
Researching keywords and trending topics to write about
Finding new topics to write about monthly can be an arduous task. But things are looking up for those adopting SEO AI tools.
In fact, almost half of marketers in HubSpot’s survey mentioned above use generative AI to conduct research, and 22% use it to generate content ideas.
You can do the same by using an AI platform like Topic Mojo and Buzzsumo to find what topics are trending on social media and forums. You type in a broad keyword like “ecommerce,” and it’ll generate trees with questions, comparisons (tool vs. tool and reviews), and other search intents (shopping, research, and local).
And showcase all videos, forum posts, and social media posts discussing that topic:
At HawkSEM, we use our proprietary software, ConversionIQ, to identify keywords with high-conversion potential. These guide both SEO and paid search campaigns to ensure we zone in on search terms that generate leads and sales. It uses AI to analyze customer behaviors to recommend the best keywords to use.
Tracking web page rankings for important keywords
After publishing content, it’s time to track rankings. Thank goodness you don’t have to do it manually. AI makes it so you can quickly identify hundreds or even thousands of search terms each piece of content ranks for.
Then for primary keywords, you can track how your content rises and falls in the search results over time.
These tools also provide real-time updates, generate reports, and offer insights into changes in rankings, allowing businesses to adapt their SEO strategies accordingly. For example, Zutrix uses AI to browse SERPs like a human (not a bot). This means you get accurate SERP data for your content ranking status.
Finding link-building opportunities (internal and external)
Content performs better when it’s linked to other content on your site. Not only does this tell search engine bots that you cover the topics in-depth — it also directs visitors to other relevant content, keeping them on your site longer.
This does two things:
- Increases visitors’ time on site, which improves SEO rankings
- Shows visitors that you’re an authority on a subject
It’s also ideal to link out to reputable sites. For instance, linking to a report for a stat in your post. When you link to high-authority websites, it improves the quality of your content. Search engines “feel” your posts are knowledge-sharing, which is helpful. And people view you as a trusted source of information.
However, finding internal and external linking opportunities can be time-consuming. Various SEO AI software offers advanced link-building features that either connect to your Google Search Console or use search engines to find them.
For instance, RankMath (a WordPress plugin) uses Google data to find internal links to add to your posts. Just insert the keyword and it’ll search your website for linking opportunities.
Pro tip: Speaking of authority, Google is hard at work creating policies around AI content and E-E-A-T. (The latter is Google’s ranking system for high-quality content, grading elements of expertise, experience, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness.)
Analyzing audience behaviors to improve user experience
User experience (UX) is a factor Google uses to rank your web pages and blog posts. If the site is cluttered, difficult to navigate, or irrelevant to the target audience, it’ll have a high bounce rate (when visitors leave too fast) and rank lower in search results.
There are a few ways AI can help improve UX on your website.
For instance, you can use AI to analyze visitor behaviors on your website to learn how they interact with your site. Sprig uses AI to analyze customer surveys to gain insights about their experience on the site.
It’ll then categorize feedback into themes to highlight similar answers, so you can prioritize them when making website improvements.
Conducting a competitive analysis to beat the competition
After analyzing your target customers, you can turn around and use AI to do the same for your competitors (minus the surveys). Without AI, you’re stuck searching for other companies in your industry and then going through their websites and analyzing what they are and aren’t doing, so you can do the same, but better.
AI SEO tools allow you to speed up this process by allowing the software to comb through competitor websites and run analytics for you. Working those results into a comprehensive SEO strategy can help give you the boost you need to not only match, but stand out against your competitors.
What makes Konnecto unique from other AI competitor analytics tools is that it doesn’t just look at what your competition is doing — it looks at what they do well. It’ll highlight whatever’s helping your competitors to drive traffic, leads, and revenue.
Drafting content briefs your writers can follow
Once you complete your strategy and research keywords, topics, audience insights, and competitor analyses, it’s time to get your writers ready to craft high-converting content.
You can continue creating content briefs from scratch manually. Or you can opt for an AI platform that generates briefs for you. Many tools available today run algorithms to find keywords, subtopics, questions, searcher intent, and other information to make data-driven content briefs.
A few of the AI software on the market today include MarketMuse, Zenbrief, and Narrato. Each offer different levels of customization and AI assistance.
For example, Narrato includes keywords, topics, and questions based on search intent.
Marketmuse allows you to add insights, metrics, and special requests to the brief.
Creating content at scale to drive more traffic
Scaling your content creation is possible with artificial intelligence. Today’s tools range from generating copy for emails to full-fledged blog posts.
Some mimic human writers well, but need an editor’s eye to ensure it’s on brand, read well, and are factual, as mentioned above.
Still, content writing tools powered by AI are gaining in popularity. Around 45% of marketers surveyed by HubSpot use generative AI for creating content; another 83% say AI helps create significantly more content than they could without it.
Using AI content speeds up the writing process for content teams, allowing them to quickly generate drafts to rework and edit as they see fit. The key is finding the right software based on your needs.
For instance, Jasper is a top dog in the copywriting space. It does a decent job of capturing your tone of voice, which makes the copy speak like your brand.
It does this by learning your brand’s language and style through your website, style guide, product catalogs, and other resources to create everything from emails and web copy to blog posts and landing pages. Jasper and other similar ai writing tools also offer dozens of templates, so you don’t have to start from scratch.
Having the power to train AI is what makes these tools more valuable. They go from being a generic tool spewing the same content as every other platform user to a personalized writing assistant.
Another tool that does this well is HyperWrite, which stores a local database (on your PC) of your emails and Google Docs (with your permission).
It then learns your writing style so it can make suggestions as you write or generate longer texts in your voice. Or even autogenerate email replies based on the context of the email and how it thinks you’d respond.
Soon, it’ll also have an assistant that can perform internet tasks — order pizza for my office or find the email of the CEO of X company, for example. Oh, the possibilities for conducting online research.
Optimizing content for search engines and people
Producing a ton of AI-assisted content doesn’t make sense if it doesn’t rank on search engines. Fortunately, AI SEO software can also optimize your content for search engines. You can do it manually by viewing the suggested keywords and adding them to the content. Or you can have it include them as it autogenerates content for you.
For instance, you can tell it which keywords to include in meta descriptions, titles, headings, and web copy.
AI helped nearly three-fourths of marketers in that same HubSpot survey boost their SERP rankings. Tools like Frase pull keywords from the SERPs to help writers identify topics and search terms to include in their pieces to make them more in-depth (and optimized).
Then you have Clearscope, which gives you a list of keywords to include in your article to ensure relevancy and rankings.
Both score your content — Frase uses numbers up to 100 and Clearscope uses a simple A-F grading system.
Clearscope also analyzes old content so you can optimize it to perform better than competitors in the SERPs.
Potential negative impacts of SEO AI (and what to do about it)
SEO AI tools come with many benefits, but like with most software, there are downsides that can blindside you if you’re not careful.
For example, AI platforms that produce content can cause heartaches and headaches like the following:
- Getting you penalized for unhelpful content
- Failing plagiarism tests
- Ranking low in the SERPs
- Lacking the human touch (too robotic)
- Downgrading of SEO teams (and their performance)
- Eliminating the creative process in SEO
You can prevent these issues by being more hands-on when using AI SEO tools.
How to use AI responsibly to benefit your SEO campaigns
AI is designed to be an advantage for businesses, marketers, and SEOs. Here’s how to improve your odds of success when using AI SEO assistants:
- Incorporate human input into AI-generated content: Although AI can generate content quickly, it can also lack the creativity and human touch people appreciate. Having SEO team members contribute to the content ensures your content is personalized and engaging.
- Carefully select AI tools: Test different tools to find the best AI software for your needs. It should produce high-quality content and adhere to ethical guidelines. Browse through online communities to find recommendations before committing to any tool.
- Analyze the AI-generated content: Before publishing any AI-generated content, analyze it to ensure it adds value to the website. The content should be informative, relevant, and engaging for readers. If it doesn’t, then here’s where that human touch will become valuable.
- Support AI-generated content with other SEO campaigns: Don’t rely on AI content to get your content ranked. Aside from using human editors, implement other tactics to support the AI-written content, such as building backlinks, using internal links, and optimizing website structure to increase the content’s SERP rankings.
- Check for plagiarism: AI-generated content can result in plagiarism, which can negatively impact your website’s SERP ranking and lead to Google penalties. Regularly monitor content generated by the AI tool for plagiarism. Grammarly and Copyscape are tools that check for plagiarized text.
- Continuously optimize content: Some AI tools help you optimize content using a scoring system and SEO checklist. This may help you rank initially, but SERPs change over time. This requires you to revisit your content to re-optimize it with more and better content to continue ranking high in SERPs.
- Fact-check AI-generated content: AI can generate content based on a predefined set of topics and keywords, but still verify the content is factually accurate. This will require a bit of manual labor to check reports and other sources to determine the truthfulness of the content.
AI tools aren’t here to replace human SEOs and content marketers. Rather, they can be seen as our friendly robot assistants. When used responsibly and ethically, AI can be a big asset to your SEO team.
The key is to educate yourself and your teams to use these tools to become more productive and effective, so you have more time to focus on other tasks, like big-picture planning and creative brainstorming.
Need more help with your SEO or other digital marketing initiatives? The experts at HawkSEM use AI to help businesses like yours grow visibility, leads, and sales. Contact our team today for a free consultation.